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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

America's Choice 2020. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired November 3, 2020 - 16:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[16:30:00]

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: And we're back in the Election Center awaiting the first exit polls on the voters -- for the voters on the issues they care about most.

We're also standing by for the first results, actual votes of the night, as voters are still casting ballots right now in those all- important battleground states across the country.

Let's check in with our battleground correspondents.

First to Florida, 29 electoral votes.

Randi Kaye is at a polling place in Lighthouse Point, which is just outside Fort Lauderdale.

Randi, how's voting going there?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Voting was going pretty smoothly here, Jake.

In fact, one election official here in Broward County, where we are, called this Election Day boring. That's how well it was going. But it's certainly not boring anymore, Jake.

We're getting word from a federal judge in U.S. district court that he is ordering the United States Postal Service now to sweep processing facilities and underperforming districts. They are basically looking for ballots. We know that there were a record number of mail-in ballots this election season.

So, here's what's happening. The United States Postal Service apparently told the judge that they had received about 300,000 ballots. They received them, but they were never scanned for delivery. So what this means is that the post office got them, but there's no record that they were ever sent out to be delivered.

It doesn't mean that none of those 300,000 ballots were delivered, but there is simply no record of them. So this judge has ordered the United States Postal Service to sweep these facilities starting by 3:00 p.m. today, and then he wants a report on that sweep by this afternoon at some point.

And it does include many battleground states that don't allow ballots to be counted after Election Day. So, timing is of the essence, Jake. TAPPER: All right, Randi Kaye in Broward County, Florida, thank you so

much.

Let's go to Pennsylvania now.

Kate Bolduan is in Bensalem, which is outside the great city of Philadelphia.

Kate, what's happening at your location?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Jake.

Here at Bensalem High School, it has been a very busy day. I'm told that voters started lining up here at 5:30 this morning for the polls to open at 7:00. And throughout the county, we have heard reports of wait times of three to four hours, according to the county -- one of the county commissioner, not because of any problems, but because of sheer turnout.

At this location, they have already seen double what they normally get in terms of turnout. And, still, obviously, there are hours left to go.

Here is why this matters so much. Bucks County is the most competitive of the suburban counties outside of Philadelphia. President Trump was here Saturday. Joe Biden was here before that. This is a county and vote -- these are voters that both campaigns desperately want in order to secure this state.

Hillary Clinton barely won this county four years ago. We will have to wait and see exactly what happens. No big lines now, but if you look behind me way down there, towards those windows, the line was all the way down there this morning and doubled back.

Turnout here has been huge. We will see what the next hours bring -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Kate Bolduan in one of the collar counties outside Philadelphia -- Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: All right, thanks very much, Jake.

Some states will be faster or slower than other states to report results.

I want to walk over to Pamela Brown at our voting desk. She is looking closely.

Which states are going to be reporting more quickly than other states?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we do expect speedy results in some key battleground states, starting with Florida.

This, of course, is one of the biggest prizes. Here in Florida, some results are expected in the 7:00 p.m. Eastern hour. Mostly, counting is typically finished on election night. So we should be finding out results there in Florida tonight.

Now let's move over to Georgia here. Georgia polls close at 7:00 p.m. Eastern, and most votes are expected to be counted on election night.

Turning over to North Carolina now, the state is delaying results, we learned today, for at least 45 minutes after extended voting at four locations. But they still expect to finish most counting on election night. And the deadline for mail ballots to arrive later than usual, November 12.

So that could come into play tonight, depending on how tight it is. In Ohio, the all-important state of Ohio, the state typically finishes counting on election night or the next day. That is still the hope.

[16:35:03]

And then, in Texas, we do expect to find out results in the 8:00 p.m. hour. Typically -- the state typically finishes most vote-counting on election night.

And then there's Arizona. Of course, we have been talking a lot about Arizona. The results are expected in the 10:00 p.m. hour. The state typically has large numbers of ballots to count after election night.

But, also, Wolf, it's a state that has a lot of experience with mail- in ballots.

BLITZER: Pamela, which states do we expect to be reporting, let's say, more slowly?

BROWN: Three crucial states, Wolf, that could swing this election in one direction or the other, starting with Wisconsin here.

We know that this is a state that didn't start opening up their ballots until today. They expect to finish counting by Wednesday, November 4. And then, in Michigan, Michigan had a little bit of a head start. Some results are expected in the 8:00 p.m. Eastern hour there.

And the state expects to finish counting by Friday, November 6, at the latest. And then you have Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania could keep us on the edge of our seats. They didn't start opening up those ballots until today. We know that some counties are going to wait until tomorrow to open up the mail-in ballots.

Some are starting today. The secretary of state said, expect the results by Friday by this week, Wolf.

BLITZER: Very, very interesting, indeed.

We're watching all of this very, very closely, together with all of our reporters, our analysts, our experts.

Still ahead, at the top of the hour, the first exit poll results, an nearly snapshot of who's voting and why.

We will be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:40:12]

BLITZER: An impressive view, look at this, of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and the White House, as Americans are deciding who will serve in the White House for the next four years.

We're standing by for our first exit poll results. Around the top of the hour, we will get an early sense of how the coronavirus crisis may be shaping this election.

And we're also monitoring the final hours of voting in key battleground states that will ultimately decide the next president of the United States.

Let's go back to John King. He's here at the Magic Wall.

So, what can we expect, John, when the results first start coming in?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think one of the things to expect is the unexpected in terms of the colors you're used to seeing on this map. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

We're going to keep saying this throughout the night. We need to be patient. But let's say -- I'm going to just pick a state -- let's say Georgia. We don't know how Georgia is going to end up the night, right?

The Biden campaign says they're competitive there. They believe there's African-American turnout that could make Georgia blue. But let's say Georgia, out of the box, the first dump of votes is overwhelmingly mail-in, early voting.

Well, that, we know, is disproportionately Democratic. So, you might see, in a place like Georgia, even in places that are outside of the cities, you might see a lot of blue on this map, not just in Georgia, but other states as well, in places that are normally red. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. Just, this means the first thing they process were the absentee votings or the mail-in votes. And we know that those are disproportionately Democrat.

The flip side of that, Wolf, is, we know, for example, there are at least a half-dozen counties, maybe more, in Pennsylvania that have said they're overwhelmed on Election Day, they're not going to count those mail-in ballots, the early ballots, until very late tonight.

Some of them say they won't even start until tomorrow morning. So what does that mean? You may see parts of this map -- now, Donald Trump had a lot of red here to begin with, but you may see the margins lopsided, because it's all Election Day vote that we're getting early on.

So, you may see -- let's see how many Democrats turned out today. But you may see places on the map in a place like Pennsylvania, but even in states that are just not traditionally battlegrounds -- you might see blue in states that are normally red. You might see red in places that are normally blue, perfectly understandable.

We're just going to have to walk through this. We will be transparent about what we know. Are these early ballots? That's why there's a lot of blue. Is this all Election Day count? That's why it looks like it looks.

We're going to have to walk through this the night. It will be like no other. And we will just get through it.

But we also will get clues. They're all -- and, by the way, everything you see once we the polls close is live votes. They're real votes. They just may come in and sort of an odd that make things interesting.

But remember 2016, though. When we do start to get votes, and Kentucky, Ohio starts to close early, remember back in 2016. The first signs that Donald Trump was turning out Republican voters beyond expectations came right along here, when we first got the results in Kentucky, up here along the Ohio border, places like Bracken County, no, tiny, right, 106 out of 120 counties in terms of the population.

This was not going to change the state. And we knew Kentucky was going to go red. But what did we learn? Donald Trump was running it up, that people were coming out of the woodwork, and that he was, by significant margins, overperforming past Republican nominees, inroads in blue-collar, white, rural America that helped Donald Trump to his victory.

Why did that matter? We knew Kentucky was going to go red four years ago, but there are voters just like that in Southern Ohio. And we started to see that as well. And guess what? If you follow it over, there are voters just like that in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

That was the first sign of the night. So, that's what we will be looking for tonight when we start to get votes out of Kentucky, out of Indiana, out of Ohio, match those counties up, especially the small rural places.

One of the key tests tonight, can Donald Trump surge turnout on Election Day? We will get some early clues in those results. And then Pam was talking earlier about other results. We do expect North Carolina. There's a delay in reporting the results because they're keeping some precincts open a little bit longer.

But once those results do come, this will be a key test. We know, in 2018, the suburbs revolted against President Trump. Does that continue? Donald Trump narrowly carried the suburbs four years ago. It's one of the reasons he won North Carolina, pretty close election there.

So, what are we going to watch? We're going to watch Mecklenburg County. This is absolutely essential for the Democrats. Does the African-American turnout in Charlotte go higher than that?

You see the numbers. Joe Biden needs to exceed Hillary Clinton's raw vote numbers. But there's also a ton of growing suburbs around here. What is Donald Trump's number in the suburbs? That's one place to look.

Another place to look, one of the fastest growing areas of America up here, Raleigh-Durham, the suburbs around here. So, you bring up Wake County here. This is absolutely critical.

You see 58-38, right, 20 points four years ago. How is Joe Biden doing here compared to Hillary Clinton? Or, the flip side of that, how is Donald Trump doing there compared to Donald Trump?

The fast-growing suburbs up here, they're more diverse. They're younger. They're more college-educated. They are the very voters who revolted against the Republican Party in 2018.

We will get, in these early states, North Carolina among them, some early clues, and then we will just watch it out as we follow across the country.

BLITZER: Even in a traditionally red state like Kentucky, we will get some early results coming in. Will we get a sense of how Biden is doing based on the early results we're seeing in a red state like Kentucky?

KING: Yes, so let's go back to Kentucky, and let's pop out.

Again, we have every expectation that Kentucky will stay red this year. Let's see. We're open to surprises, right? We're always open to surprises in elections.

Remember, the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, is running for reelection in Kentucky.

[16:45:01]

KING: He has every expectation to win re-election, in a relatively close race, but he expects to win. However, this is why we're here. It's election night. We get surprised sometimes.

So, what are we going to look for there? Number one, I just mentioned, the smaller counties up here. Here's Cincinnati. Some of these northern Kentucky counties here like Kenton.

This is the Cincinnati suburbs essentially. It's over the state line into Kentucky. But let's watch, you see it here, 59-33. If you move over, come over here, Campbell County, 59-34. It's Joe Biden doing better just across the border here? If so, that tells you he's going to do better in southern Ohio as well, in the suburbs around Cincinnati. There's a big house district at play in the suburbs around Cincinnati as well.

Plus, we'll see this. When you come into places like Fayette County, this is Lexington, Hillary Clinton won it. But look at the margin, 10- point margin, there, 9-piont margin if you round. So, this will be absolutely critical to see.

And again, it may not swing Kentucky, but is African-American turnout up in all the suburbs around here. A lot of suburbs around Lexington, a lot of suburbs around Louisville as well. Is Joe Biden overperforming Hillary Clinton? Or if you want to flip it, is President Trump underperforming especially in the suburban areas?

Kentucky will give us an early test even though we don't think it will be a swing state tonight.

BLITZER: And the polls close in Kentucky in an hour and 15 minutes, 6:00 p.m. Eastern. So, we'll get results then.

Coming up, the big reveal of exit polls. We're going to get insight into how the night will potentially play out. We'll be back in a moment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where do you live?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In New York.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:50:04]

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: President Trump is inside the White House right now, as he and all of us await the results of the election. We are just minutes away from sharing the first information from our exit polls of voters, with potential hints about the direction of the presidential race. We're also inside voting locations in the make or break battleground states. There's certainly a lot to watch for, especially in these early hours.

David Axelrod, as we await some exit poll results, we were just talking about Bracken County in Kentucky, Mecklenburg, North Carolina, as kind of early indicators of enthusiasm for President Trump or for Joe Biden.

Where do you -- what do you watch early on?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think you do choose counties that you think will give you some tea leaves. New Hanover County in North Carolina is a city that is not -- a county that has not voted for a Democrat for decades but it's become closer and closer. Trump won it by four. It's a home -- it's around Wilmington.

There's a burgeoning film industry. It's changing in character. It will be interesting to see if Donald Trump can carry that county. And there are counties in every state that are like this that he won, but not by too much. If Joe Biden turns these counties, I think that gives you a sense of which way these elections are going to go.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I think there's also a larger sense here of, which is a question of win or lose, is Donald Trump removing the Republican Party from places that are shaping the next century, and this century, sort of the larger, more urban areas, areas with younger demographics, areas with more mixed and diverse populations. And we'll all be looking at that.

But right, tonight, right now, we're all going to be looking at Florida, of course, because that reports early. Florida is always an issue. We know it's a tight race, and we know that if the president were to win Florida tonight, that his road to 270 gets easier and that Joe Biden's gets harder.

Joe Biden doesn't need Florida. Donald Trump needs Florida to win this election. And so, that's kind of my first choice. Then North Carolina.

AXELROD: The truth is, he needs them all.

BORGER: He needs them all, that's right.

AXELROD: He needs to run the table if he loses Florida or North Carolina or Georgia or Arizona, this becomes very difficult. Florida being the biggest piece, but all of them are necessary if he's going to keep this thing in order if he can get over Rick's place in Pennsylvania.

RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Unless he can pick up a Michigan or Wisconsin.

BORGER: Right.

SANTORUM: But you're right, to me, you look at Florida. It's the earliest one we're going to get votes from. And interesting one that's going to be different from four years ago is actually Miami-Dade. Miami-Dade may be a place where Donald Trump, I think he will do better than he did four years ago, and it will be because of the Hispanic vote in Miami Dade. I mean, we might pick up a congressional seat in Miami-Dade.

And there's --

COOPER: Mostly Cuban, Venezuelan --

SANTORUM: It's a Cuban, Venezuelan area. That's an area where socialism -- I mean, if you -- a lot of Republican memes on conservative media are talking about immigrants from all these countries who are passionate -- that's one of the reasons I think you're seeing -- you know, oddly enough that Trump is doing well among immigrants. Immigrants who have had this experience with socialism are very, very concerned with the Democratic Party.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think that's why trying to tar Biden something he's not has been a big part of the strategy.

SANTORUM: Yeah.

JONES: He's not a socialist.

But what's interesting is, there are some troubling signs in Miami- Dade, but in Broward County, you're seeing a massive outpour. You know, there are constituencies we don't talk about enough. The West Indians, the Jamaicans, they love Kamala Harris, because her dad is from Jamaica. So, that you got the big push there.

But you also have the formerly incarcerate folks, who got their rights back, the Florida rights restoration coalition, got them their rights back. At first they were like, Biden is a mass incarcerator.

But Republicans came down so hard on them, so they pushed 700,000 people back to the Democrats. Not very smart.

And then, lastly, the Puerto Ricans. Because of the biggest climate refugees, they had to leave their islands because of the storms there. There's a big, big Democratic base.

If you got Puerto Ricans, West Indians, formerly incarcerated people, and then Broward County. So, now, you're going to have this thing, Miami-Dade versus Broward County is going to be a big, big deal.

AXELROD: I think an important point. There's no doubt that Miami-Dade is important and it's important to Democrats, and he has to -- Joe Biden has to perform as least close to what Hillary Clinton did. He doesn't have to do what she did, but the state is more divorce than four years ago, and Joe Biden is doing much better with white voters.

JONES: Yeah.

AXELROD: And I think that's going to be a theme throughout this night. You know, he is at -- you know, polling, he -- Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton by 20 points in this country among white voters.

[16:55:05]

Joe Biden has cut this to single digits.

BORGER: One single point.

AXELROD: In Florida, he's cut the lead in half.

So, you look at a county like Pinellas County where St. Petersburg is, and that is a county that Barack Obama won in 2012, Trump won in 2016, largely white, retirees. He's not doing as well, Trump work, with seniors as he did four years ago.

JONES: It's like a swap. It's like -- it's like Biden's getting more white vote than Democrats usually get and Trump is getting more African-American men and Latinos. But the math may actually wind up favoring Biden.

AXELROD: Sixty percent of the state is white.

BORGER: He's losing seniors by 20 points. And that may be part of the increase with white voters. A lot of that may be seniors, but you want to look at Broward County, where my dearly departed mother was a poll worker in Broward County. You look at what's going to happen there and I guarantee you you'll see a large shift among seniors.

COOPER: We are just minutes away from our first exit poll results. We'll be back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: We're live here in Washington. A look at pictures of the White House right now. This is a truly historic contest to win the White House and lead this nation.

[17:00:00]